Zach Pollack, chef-owner of Alimento in Silver Lake and founding partner in Sotto, has been drinking wine since he was a kid and was allowed to taste from his father's glass. But he said he really didn't appreciate or understand wine until he moved to Italy in 2006 to pursue his interest in cooking Italian. He stayed there just shy of two years, cooking and working in Lombardy, the Veneto, Sicily, Umbria and Sardinia.
In Italy, Pollack said, he learned that food and wine are an integral part of life not only on the micro scale (in the plates and glasses enjoyed every day), but on the macro scale (in the stories and traditions that define the country).
When asked about a favorite wine, Pollack said, "I love discovering new wines, so I don't have a go-to glass per se. But one wine that bowled me over recently is Rojac Royaz, a sparkling wine from Slovenia." He said he first tasted it at his local wine shop, Silver Lake Wine, about a year ago, and immediately put it on the wine list at Alimento.
"Made from a blend of 67% Refosk and 33% Syrah, it's the perfect combination of raunchy and quaffable," Pollack said. "And, like a good Champagne, pairs with just about everything, though I especially like it at the beginning of a meal or as an aperitif." Refosk, by the way, is the Slovenian name for the grape the Italians call Refs.